Pensacolians William Bedwell and Hooba Bjørnevold knew they wanted to find a way to give back when choosing to open a new business in Pensacola, but they didn’t know exactly how.
Their means: a candle-making startup that donates a portion of proceeds to various sea turtle conservation non-profit organizations, including the Navarre Sea Turtle Conservation Center.
The ambitious duo are on a mission to empower and raise awareness of the sea turtle conservation movement through the allure of hand-made scented candles.
“Over several months we were thinking of ideas of what new business we should start,” said Bedwell, co-founder of Pensacola-based Sea Turtle Wax.
Bedwell said he grew up always giving back to his community and wanted the new business to continue that sense of purpose.
“It’s just the way I’m wired,” said Bedwell. “We knew whatever we started we wanted to give back to the community. We found the Navarre Sea Turtle Conservation Center through research and we just reached out and they immediately said ‘Yes, this is a fantastic idea!’ A portion of each sale we make goes directly to non-profit organization like the Navarre conservation center.”
Bjørnevold said making the candles at first took lots of trial and error but that they keep their product line simple with six permanent and one seasonal fragrance.
“It’s not rocket science to make candles” said Bjørnevold, Bedwell’s partner. “The most difficult part is to figure out the combination of scents, soy, and oils to make the right scent.”
“Everybody has a candle,” Bjørnevold said. “If you think about it, you probably have several in your house right now.”
Each of the scents all relate to marine life to further the message of Sea Turtle conservation.
The scents include Leatherback, Green Wave, Loggerhead, Gulf Stream, Flattered, and Ridley. To celebrate the Mardi Gras season, a Carnival candle, made with coffee bean, hazlenut, and vanilla fragrances will be available through February 28, known as Fat Tuesday.
Currently, the candle-making duo are primarily serving the Gulf Coast market but have begun to ship across the country — as far as Los Angeles and Miami.
“We really think we have a broad appeal.” said Bedwell. “Everyone loves sea turtles and it’s a sustainable product — everything about our product is recyclable.”